The Newburgh Beacon bridge is going to get more crowded today, and don't expect it to get any better for at least two years.

The New York State Bridge Authority announced that eastbound traffic on I-84 will be reduced from three lanes to two on the Newburgh Beacon Bridge starting on Thursday night. The lane will remain closed until 2022, but if you think losing a lane for two years is the worst of it, think again.

Earlier this year the NYSBA revealed plans to redeck the entire westbound span of the Newburgh Beacon Bridge. The work will require even more reconfiguring of traffic patterns, forcing east and westbound travelers to share the same bridge. The massive project will result in traffic being diverting from both sides of I-84 to the eastbound span. It seems that this evening's closure is the beginning of preparations to move all traffic to the one bridge.

The NYSBA has promised to push out "plenty of updates" in advance to make sure travelers are given time to plan their travel before the bridge's traffic pattern is changed. Here's a rundown of what you can expect in the coming year according to the NYSBA:

  • For eastbound traffic coming from I-84: Two lanes, rather than the usual three, will go across the south span of the bridge. Traffic entering I-84 from the Route 9W on-ramp will need to merge into eastbound traffic.
  • For westbound traffic coming from I-84: Two lanes from I-84 will be routed toward the south span within the vicinity of the toll plaza. Once on the bridge, eastbound and westbound traffic will be separated by a concrete barrier.
  • For westbound traffic coming from Route 9D: Drivers will utilize the exit ramp and stay in the northernmost lane on the north span, which currently functions as a breakdown lane.

Erected in 1963, the northernmost bridge on the dual-span crossing originally handled both east and westbound traffic. Replacement of the bridge's decking is necessary to keep it safe and operational. The southernmost bridge was built in 1980, allowing east and west lanes of I-84 to be diverted to their own spans.